An edgy, supernatural love story about Aristophanes struggling with his muse in Ancient Greece, written by Matthew Amendt.
423 BCE. The Gods are hungry. The greatest city of her age, Athens has fallen: wracked with plague, war, drink, lust, gods, demons, and a dark fog of nihilism eating away at her light. Censored and labeled a pervert for standing up to the state, a young Aristophanes passes his nights in a haze of booze and sex, spitting into the face of tomorrow with the courage of the damned. When the unlikeliest of heroes emerges, can a guilty, drunken soul become Orpheus and sing life back into the ashes? An edgy supernatural love story costumed in the present but taking place in Ancient Athens’ hedonistic height, The Comedian’s Tragedy is a rollercoaster of violence, love, revenge, low comedy and high ideas. Imagine a play that brings together the best heat, the fire of American Acting, marries it to the icy clarity of Classical Tragedy, and out of the steam of that collision tells a new story of the place we all began. When there’s no tomorrow, what are you doing tonight?
Bill McCallum directs a cast of eleven performers with credits spanning Broadway, Off-Broadway, television and high-profile regional theaters, including Matthew Amendt* (Bway: Bernhardt/Hamlet; Off-Bway: Julius Ceaser/TFANA), Sarah Baskin* (TV: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; NY: Urban Stages, Roundabout, 59E59; Regional: Portland Center Stage, A.R.T.), Stephen D’Ambrose* (Bway Tour: August: Osage County; Regional: The Guthrie, The Old Globe, Arizona Theater Co., Folger Shakespeare, St. Louis Rep.), Truett Felt* (NY: Bedlam; Regional: Oregon Shakespeare Fest.), Gary Lowery* (NY: Second Stage, Playwrights Horizons; TV: “Law & Order;” Regional: Guthrie, Tennessee Rep., San Diego Rep.), Ron Menzel* (Bway: Les Liaisons Dangereuse, The Parisian Woman), Galen Molk (Off-B’way: Julius Ceaser, King John; Regional: Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Julian Remulla* (NY: Julius Ceaser/TFANA; Regional: Oregon Shakespeare Fest.), Derek Smith* (Bway: Lion King; NY: Red Bull; Regional: Shakespeare Theater Co.), Anna Sundberg* (Regional: Great River Shakespeare, Virginia Stage, Guthrie Theater), and Asma Thabet (TV: National Tunisian TV). *Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. AEA Showcase.
From playwright Matthew Amendt
When the greatest city of her age fell, she fell hard, trapped in endless war, decimated by plague, pillaged by unscrupulous politicians, pimps, and propagandists. With all hope lost (long ago and far away), a young man named Aristophanes set out to write stories that would slap his audience awake and make them pay attention, make them remember they were...better. It didn't work. But how he failed, and why, is the making of great Tragedy, and a very contemporary one. To be honest, I wish the play weren't as relevant as it is, and that we didn't believe we might need Aris now more than ever. For better or worse, we do. When you fire the decadence of Cabaret with the passion of the Oresteia, the perfect tragedy of All My Sons with the high ideas and low comedy of Henry IV, and the dark framing lens of Marat/Sade with the twisted imagination of American Gods, what comes out of the kiln?
The Comedian’s Tragedy is presented by the Access Theater Black Box. Associate Producer: Torsten Johnson; Costume and Set Designer: Izzy Fields; Lighting Designer: Leslie Smith; Stage Manager: Lindsay Jones; Public Relations: Paul Siebold/Off Off PR.
The runtime is 2.5 hours with one intermission.